10 February 2015

What I Tell Myself When I Don't Feel Like Moving My Body

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When things are really rocking for me; when I perceive that life is flowing, and fulfilling, and rich with good ju-ju, I can generally guarantee you one thing: that my yoga practice has been consistent and sweaty.

You’d think that acknowledging that would be enough to keep me rolling out my mat each morning without fail. But alas, like most humans, I have a tendency to be a rebellious, resistance creature, and if I’m not present, even the purest of intentions can easily be quashed with a fleeting thought of ‘maybe later,’ or ‘I don’t have the time,’ or ‘I’m tired.’

Most of the time, though, I can catch these sabotaging little echoes, and here’s how:

I remember that to change my circumstance, the most effective way to do that is to change the state of my body. When my body is flooded with oxygen-rich blood, my days are flooded with rich opportunities. When I lengthen my muscles, I create flexibility and spaciousness in my mind. When I experience that special brand of post - yoga euphoria, life presents me with endless opportunities to express gratitude throughout the rest of the day.

Yogi Bhajan says that there are two things we should do every day: sweat and laugh, and for me, reaching that delicious sweat-point is more fulfilling to me that crossing off a to-do from my list. When I remember that moving this body takes hierarchy over bullet points that have been hastily scrawled into a notebook, I also remember that moving this body allows me to effortlessly move through my tasks with ease and focus.

And finally, laziness begets laziness and enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. As one of my yoga teachers Michelle says: It’s far easier to remain consistent than it is to be inconsistent.

If I roll out my mat, essentially I’m rolling out an experience, and making a choice like that, especially first thing in the morning, is a fruitful one for me.

I want to move through life, I want to move with it. I don’t want any aspect or area or angle of my existence to be stagnant or to become stale, and that’s why movement is so critical to my daily practice, and why it so directly impacts my joy, my relationships, my creativity. 

It's probably also why I find illness and injury so unsettling. When I know I'm 'missing out' on that cellular freedom, I almost go into a state of grief! (A little dramatic, no?) I'll write more about surrender as it pertains to this topic soon, I promise.

What about you? What do you do to remind yourself of on those days when you'd just rather... not? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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    • 10 February 2015

      yes, lady!

      I wrote about this today in my morning pages. it is the same thing for me with writing. even when I am begrudgingly typing out those 800-some words, somewhere in the midst of it all, I find a little sliver of clarity, recognition, aha!, or just…peace. and I am reminded that in the dedicated doing, I am setting the tone, the pace and the foundation for the life I want to live and the woman I want to be.

      cheers to you xo

      • Michaela
        11 February 2015

        How beautiful, Ashley. I love what you said there!

    • Jenna
      10 February 2015

      Well I must be dramatic right along with you! Exercise grief associated with illness has been one of my new struggled since taking responsibility for my health. I've had quite a bit of it recently. I've been trying to learn the difference you spoke of ( ego v genuine need to rest) and honouring it either way. x

    • 10 February 2015

      Piece of gold right there: "When my body is flooded with oxygen-rich blood, my days are flooded with rich opportunities." Thank you just the kick up the bottom I needed.

    • 10 February 2015

      Golden. I find I make much more nourishing choices - on every level - after I've sweated it out. It kind of brings everything full circle. Here's to sweating out the stuff that keeps us heavy and giving rise to consistency and flow. xx

    • 10 February 2015

      Perfect timing as usual. I have been consistent with my meditation- which I think also helps the day go well- but I struggle to get consistent with moving my body every day. Like you said- it feels so amazing when I do move more- so I will keep these ideas in mind tomorrow if I am feeling too "tired" or want to procrastinate. Thanks :)

    • 10 February 2015

      "I want to move through life, I want to move with it."- woosh. You are right on the money there my sweet.

      I think one of the biggest challenges for me has been to take the 'shoulds' away from dedication and to just relish in the beauty and freedom of just turning up and seeing what happens, even if I'm not 100% into it at the time. When we drill down into it, it really is easier to stay dedicated than stray off the path and grapple to get back on it. There is so much to learn in our daily practices.

      Thanks my dear- xxx

    • sustainable and the city
      10 February 2015

      thinking about how utterly amazing and energised i will feel after it, and how my day will be 200 x better for it (i'm usually a be-active-first-thing kind of girl). great post!

    • Lyndsey
      11 February 2015

      Beautifully said Tara and came to me at the perfect moment, a message the Universe is so gently nudging at me. I have felt resistance to my body movement for the last few weeks and I am not completely sure why especially when I get the same euphoric feelings that most of us get when we have gotten down and sweaty...I think this was the final nudge though...rolling out my mat tonight and I am excited to reconnect/reawaken myself with her. Thank you!

      Love as always xx

    • 11 February 2015

      Yes! This: "I remember that to change my circumstance, the most effective way to do that is to change the state of my body." Yes, yes, yes. I have recently returned to dance as a spiritual practice, taking a 5 Rhythms workshop and having Divine Dance Parties for One in my bedroom! It really is the truest form of practice for me (though I love yoga too) and is so effective at releasing negative energy and cultivating natural euphoria. In fact, after reading this I am going to go dance right now!

    • 11 February 2015

      remember that to change my circumstance, the most effective way to do that is to change the state of my body.

      Yogi Bhajan says that there are two things we should do every day: sweat and laugh

      It’s far easier to remain consistent than it is to be inconsistent.


    • 11 February 2015

      Love this post. To change your circumstance, change your body. Will have to keep it in mind the next time I feel like skipping out on exercise.

    • Claire
      11 February 2015

      Love this post! I'm definitely with you on the 'enthusiasm begets enthusiasm'. After making a conscious decision to increase my yoga practice from once to twice a week, I find that I'm actually wanting to do it even more often and really notice how it influences other parts of my life.

    • 11 February 2015

      Hi, :-)
      I love the sweat and laugh..... I know that after it I am going to feel good so that is enough to kick my but... but I always spend some time before strating my exercise routine, depending on how I feel I am going to decide if I do someting slow and stretchy like yoga or if I do something more speedy like an aerobic routine, if I feel like I need to sweat and move a lot!
      A day without and kind of exercise feels like somthing is missing... I guess that feeling comes from the fact that the body gets used to be moved around and loves habit....

    • Gente
      11 February 2015

      I can definitely relate to this, especially the part about consistency being easier than being inconsistent. I have had to learn that lesson many times. So now when I'm feeling unmotivated to move my body I think back of how I struggle to get back into routine once I tap out and make a conscious decision not to put myself into that guilty and hateful place, but to keep going with my routine that I know in my bones works so well for me. xx

    • 14 February 2015

      I totally agree and that is what has made my broken foot so unsettling. I just want to get back to my ballet classes and dedicate my body to my beautiful craft, but instead I'm wearing a boot for six weeks. I suppose there's a lesson to be learned in the stillness, just as there is in motion. But I can't wait to be back at the barre.

    • Alex @ True Femme
      14 February 2015

      I remind myself that I've never regretted a workout and that no matter what, I always feel happier, stronger, and more level-headed afterwards!

    • 22 February 2015

      Great stuff! I love your teacher's comment about consistency -- and one of the things that's really helped me with that is having my workouts chosen for me so it's one less decision to make (or back out of.) I do a barre streaming service where they set up challenges to follow along with, and between the pre-selected workouts and the facebook group, I am working out more consistently than ever, and it's actually JOYFUL, dread-free movement. I also sneak in yoga practices several days a week, too.

    • pachi
      27 February 2015

      I have a quick comment. .. I love the thought of doing yoga, but I didn't grow up around it and most times I've tried a class it has felt awkward and not as "comfortable " add you or others look. Any thoughts for this kind of beginners? Do you have a little series or something that could help those that are not as into it as you seem, but that would like to?

      • 1 March 2015

        I didn't grow up around it either. I only started doing it consistently 2 years ago, and yes of course, it was awkward for me too.

        In fact with all yoga and meditation, the first phase is awkwardness, then comes other phases like irritation and frustration, but you keep devoting because you realise that these things don't mean that you're not good at it, or that it's not right for you -- it's just part of the process which is designed to build our resilience. Eventually, and spontaneously, we start to experience bliss in our practice, and not by trying at all, but rather just by simply allowing.

        Don't give up.

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